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People Ex Rel. Meyer v. Skinner

DECEMBER 29, 1966.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS EX REL. EUGENE S. MEYER; THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS EX REL. ROGER FISHER; EUGENE S. MEYER, INDIVIDUALLY; ROGER FISHER, INDIVIDUALLY; AND ALL OTHER TAXPAYERS OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS, SIMILARLY SITUATED AS ARE THE SAID INDIVIDUAL PLAINTIFFS, PLAINTIFFS,

v.

HORACE M. SKINNER, COUNTY CLERK OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS; COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 211 OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS; NON-HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 206 OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS. BOARD OF EDUCATION IN AND FOR THE CITY OF ROCKFORD, NO. 205, WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, COUNTER-PLAINTIFF,

v.

COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 211, WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS, COUNTER-DEFENDANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County; the Hon. ALBERT S. O'SULLIVAN, Judge, presiding. Judgment for plaintiff reversed.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE MORAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied January 31, 1967.

Plaintiff, the Board of Education of School District No. 205 in the City of Rockford, brought this action against defendant, Community High School District No. 211 of Winnebago County, to recover for an unpaid balance of tuition for the 1963-1964 school year in the sum of Nine Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Eight and 34/100 ($9,978.34) Dollars.

The plaintiff is a special charter school district operating public schools in the city of Rockford, offering education in grades one through twelve. Defendant is a protectorate high school district which does not own or operate any school buildings but uses its funds to pay for the tuition and transportation of its pupils to other school districts. A majority of its pupils attend the schools operated by the plaintiff.

At the end of each school year plaintiff submits a claim for tuition to defendant covering plaintiff's costs of operating and maintaining its schools, in an amount representing the defendant's share of that cost.

At the close of the 1963-1964 school year, plaintiff submitted a bill to defendant including the pro rata cost of interest on building construction bonds and depreciation on the same buildings. Defendant paid the depreciation and all of the tuition cost excepting only the amount in controversy which represents the amount which plaintiff alleges to be due from defendant on account of interest on the building bonds. Defendant refused to pay that portion of the tuition claim attributable to building bond interest on the ground that it did not represent a proper part of the tuition charges.

Only one witness testified in the trial court. The Assistant Superintendent of the plaintiff district testified that the plaintiff district levies for the full amount of its bond interest in each year and the amounts collected from other school districts for this item are simply added to its general fund without any reduction in subsequent tax levies.

The trial judge at the conclusion of the testimony granted judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant for the full amount. This appeal followed raising the single legal issue. May plaintiff include in its tuition claim against defendant interest paid on plaintiff's building bonds as well as depreciation on the same buildings?

This issue did not exist prior to 1959. Before that time section 11-17 of the School Code provided:

"The tuition paid shall in no case exceed the per capita cost of maintaining the high school attended, excluding therefrom interest paid on bonded indebtedness which shall be computed by dividing the total cost of conducting and maintaining said high school by the average number of pupils enrolled, including tuition pupils."

(Ill Rev Stats c 122, § 11-17, 1957). In 1959, the language italicized above was deleted from the statute so that the statute presently reads as follows:

"The tuition paid shall in no case exceed the per capita cost of maintaining the high school attended, which tuition shall be computed by dividing the total cost of conducting and maintaining the high school by the average number of pupils enrolled, including tuition pupils. Depreciation on the building and equipment of the high school attended shall be included as part of the cost of maintaining the high school attended, and the amount of annual depreciation on such building and equipment shall be dependent upon the useful life of such property. The board of education of any non-high school district may audit the claims of any school submitting a claim for tuition, and shall, after making request of the school board and the school treasurer, have access to the school records and financial records of the district for the purpose of making the audit.

"The school board of the high school that the tuition pupils attend shall certify not later than August 1, of each year, to the non-high school board, the estimated amount of the tuition charges for the succeeding school year." (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 122, par 12.22.)

Section 10-20.12a of the School Code (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 122, par 10-20.12a) provides that it is ...


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